Leaving Vietnam with memories of 2013 and 1968

Last in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia My first trip to Vietnam ended in mid-March 2013. I flew out of Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City a few weeks shy of 45 years since I was drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam War. As a soldier, I never made it out of the United States, spending nearly two years based in and around Washington, DC. But I will never forget 1968. That …

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Cruising to Saigon, where people still are careful

Sixth in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia For our last day on the Mekong River, the Avalon Angkor was docked in downtown Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), which was abuzz with people at work, at play and, in between, riding their motorbikes. Lots of locals still call it Saigon, this city of 10 million people and nearly as many motorbikes, which, said a guide, are primarily from China, because the bikes are …

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Good Morning, Vietnam, cruising on the mighty Mekong River

Fifth in a series from the ruins and rivers of Southeast Asia   On the edge of the Mekong, Cambodian and Vietnam flags flapped in an early morning wind at the border station. Crew aboard the Avalon Angkor approached soldiers from the station with some trepidation, as border officials here are known to insist on strict compliance with all formalities. For instance, entrance visas for each passenger — I bought mine for $167 through VisaCentral in Washington, DC, …

Read moreGood Morning, Vietnam, cruising on the mighty Mekong River

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